Teamsters Local 214 Drops Legal Claims Against Dearborn Employees Who Exercised Worker Freedom Rights

Union earlier agreed to change discriminatory policy

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2014
Ted O'Neil
Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — Teamsters Local 214 has agreed to dismiss its legal claims against three former members represented by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. The Teamsters had attempted to challenge those employees’ rights under Michigan’s worker freedom law. In return, the city of Dearborn employees agreed to drop a lawsuit they filed against the union. The Teamsters also agreed to pay attorney fees to the MCLF.

“This is not the first time a union has tried to quash the rights of workers who chose to stop financially supporting the union as per Michigan’s right-to-work law,” said Patrick J. Wright, MCLF executive director. “But this is a perfect example of why worker freedom laws are so necessary. The remaining members of the Teamsters have to realize that their dues money is being used to pay attorney fees because their union leadership made some poor decisions. It may lead them to reconsider supporting the union.”

The MCLF last August filed suit on behalf of the three city of Dearborn employees over a discriminatory policy the union adopted on June 10, 2013, that would have charged at least $150 for non-members to file a grievance. The Teamsters last December filed its suit against the employees, claiming they did not properly resign from the union and that they owed dues money.

The Teamsters at that time told Wayne County Circuit Court that it had abandoned the discriminatory policy and told the court that it “admits that the policy … is no longer in effect.”

“As we said from the beginning, the union’s actions were a spiteful reaction to workers lawfully exercising their independence,” Wright said at the time. “We are pleased to see that they gave in and changed the policy rather than try to fight it in court, but the fact remains that they were wrong to target our clients in such a manner.”

The Teamsters last September posted a modified policy, with the same effective date of July 1 as the original one, stating “any charges the Union will require related to the processing of grievances will be assessed on a non-discriminatory basis.”

The modified policy also states that “In all respects, the Union will represent all members of the bargaining unit consistent with the requirements of the laws of the State of Michigan and the United States.”

The Teamsters’ original policy contained a disclaimer stating “This policy may be altered as needed to comply with applicable law.”

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